When you’ve been competing in print competitions as long as Idaho photographer, Dennis Hammon, capturing beautiful landscapes comes as natural as the photo’s subject itself.
While teaching a photography workshop aboard the Celebrity Silhouette cruise ship, Hammon was admiring the view during the ship’s departure when he noticed a sailboat along the horizon. Using his keen eye and his Canon 5D, he snapped a couple of pictures of the scene, and a winner was born.
The Sunset Print Award winning photograph, “Pastel Passage,” displays placid waters complete with breathtaking hues of pink and purple pastels that were bestowed by the sunset.
Similar to his 2015 Sunset Award winner, “Safe Harbor,” Hammon allowed the natural beauty of the scene to shine through, using very minimal editing in Photoshop and Nik. After he had edited the levels and curves, he printed it out on LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper 300g and began entering it in competitions.
After photographing professionally for more than 40 years, it’s no surprise that Hammon eats, sleeps and breathes all things photography. “I started print competitions in 1981,” he says. “I started doing competitions that motivated me to work my way up to get my Masters, my Craftsman, and now I’m a PPA affiliate juror, which I’ve been for over 25 years.”
Like many other Sunset Print Award-winning photographers, Hammon believes in the importance of print competitions. “I use print competitions as a barometer to see how my work is progressing and measuring against other professionals,” he says. “It’s always nice to win awards, but it’s important for me to see where my work is progressing each year and see how it measures up to current styles and looks.”
Hammon also values the sage advice from photography mentors in the industry. “Find somebody that can be a mentor to you, somebody that is where you want to be and not where you already are,” he says.
He believes that the availability and willingness of talented and accomplished professionals have allowed the industry to improve greatly. “We are seeing such an increase in the quality of work because the mentor program allows people to help each other more instead of how it was in the past when methods were almost a secret.”
So what does a master photographer do when he’s not traveling the world, teaching workshops, and winning print competitions? Improving his craft, of course! “Believe it or not, besides reading and hanging out with my wife, I enjoy photography,” he says. “It’s been both my hobby and my profession. I still look forward to getting up and going to work every day and challenging myself to do something new!”